More stunning details continue to leak out of FIFA’s headquarters in Switzerland on Thursday, as president Sepp Blatter was urged to step down by UEFA’s leader Michel Platini.
[ FULL COVERAGE: FIFA scandal ]
Following the shocking allegations of long-term corruption which surfaced on Wednesday after an FBI-led investigation indicted 14 people, including nine FIFA officials, the FIFA presidential election is to go ahead as planned on Friday. A separate Swiss investigation is also looking into the allocation of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups in Russia and Qatar respectively.
However on Thursday, Blatter first held an emergency meeting with FIFA officials and then met Platini separately.
The head of UEFA, who have revealed that the majority of their member nations have pledged their support to Prince Ali of Jordan in Friday’s presidential election in Zurich, urged Blatter to quit but is believed the 79-year-old refused to step down as FIFA’s main man despite the latest damaging allegations of corruption.
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Blatter is widely expected to win the election on Friday as the man who has been in charge of world soccer’s governing body since 1998 will secure a fifth-term in change.
In UEFA’s press conference on Thursday in Zurich, Platini revealed that he was “absolutely sickened” by the latest scandal to rock world soccer’s governing body and that he pleaded with Blatter to resign. Platini then said FIFA’s president gave him this answer:
“I can’t leave, the congress is starting today and it is too late,” said Blatter.
Blatter has the backing of the CAF, African soccer’s governing body, and the Asian Football Confederation as he needs just 105 votes from the 209 member associations to secure a fifth four-year term in charge.
Platini revealed that UEFA’s members, which consist of 54 associations, would be supporting Prince Ali of Jordan but with CAF and AFC making up 100 of the 105 votes need for a majority, Blatter is highly likely to win Friday’s election. Platini also revealed in his press conference that he is not expecting to be part of the FBI’s investigation into alleged corruption by FIFA officials, or the Swiss authorities launching a separate investigation into the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar respectively. Platini previously voted for Qatar to get the 2022 World Cup and was heavily criticized when it was revealed his son has landed a job at a Qatari sports company.
If Blatter does win Friday’s election, Platini revealed that UEFA is “open to all options” after being asked if European soccer’s governing body is willing to walk away from FIFA if Blatter is re-elected.
“People have had enough,” Platini said. “They don’t want this president anymore.”